Miss Mink Goes to Charleston (And Comes Home with a Dress!)

A few weeks after I won the Upon a Star contest, I was scheduled to fly down to Charleston to get my Jorge Manuel wedding gown at the beautiful Maddison Row bridal salon. I took the day before off from work and went to tour the DC Design House, since I was flying out of one of the DC airports. I didn’t realize there would be a wedding connection to doing that, but it turned out that Filene’s Running of the Brides was happening nearby! I saw family trying to take a picture across from the store and noticed the girl in the middle had a garment bag in her arms. I offered to take a picture of the entire group and congratulated them on finding a dress. They were ecstatic and said they drove for hours to get there. I thought it was an interesting precursor to what happened the next day when I went to Charleston…


Image from Maddison Row’s website / Photo by Juliet Elizabeth Photography

A car met me at the Charleston airport and whisked me to the Maddison Row bridal salon. Lindsey Nowak of the Maddison Row, Wedding Row blogger and Smitten Magazine editor Della MacNicholas, and photographer Paige Winn were waiting for me when I arrived (late due to a flight delay). After some yummy treats and some of the best mimosas I’ve had in a while, we got down to business: trying on the dress.


That display case is original to the store! / Photo by Paige Winn

For weeks, I’d been staring at the dress on a teeny, tiny mannequin and was afraid it wouldn’t fit me. The dress was actually clamped in the back for pictures and there was no reason to worry. What a relief!


Photo by Paige Winn

Lindsey told me that no one had been allowed to try on the dress. Some brides had asked, since it was on display for the duration of the contest, but they made sure I was the first person to ever wear it.

The intricate floral embellishments were what attracted me to the dress in the first place. I have never seen a wedding gown with this sort of detail work. The swirls on rest of the dress are not part of the fabric. All of them are strips of taffeta that have been sewn in circles onto the dress. Can you imagine how much work that was?


Stunt double ring! Mine was getting sized. / Photo by Paige Winn

The top of the dress is clamped, but the skirt looks much more full since there is so much extra material. I actually wondered if it was a ball gown as I was spinning around in it for Paige’s photos. It’s a true a-line, though. It just needed some fabric removed from it to fit me!


This felt like a very surreal moment. / Photo by Paige Winn

The entire afternoon was pretty surreal. In a way, this was the ideal way to end my wedding gown shopping. I had so much fun visiting wedding salons to try on dresses that I probably would have had a very hard time picking a dress. If you remember, I had six favorite dresses from just three shopping excursions. Style wise, they were all over the map.


Me with Lindsey, the one of the Maddison Row managers / Photo by Paige Winn

Along with the dress, Jorge made a beautiful veil that has the most unique details at the edge. There’s an Irish lace mantilla in my family that was offered to me, but I am leaning towards wearing the veil that was meant to be with my dress.


Photo by Paige Winn


Photos by Paige Winn

Jorge even called while we were there so we could chat a little bit. Needless to say, I think he’s one of the nicest people on the planet. He told me that he enjoyed the contest so much that he’s going to make a tradition out of it, so there should be another Upon a Star winner next spring!

I could have stayed at the salon all day because it was such a beautiful space (Lindsey’s mimosas might have had something to do with it). Alas, the car showed up and I was sent to the Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms for the night with all sorts of treats, including all the leftover food from Caviar and Bananas (isn’t that a great name for a gourmet shop?) and cupcakes from Sugar Bakery.


I devoured that Charleston Weddings magazine that night. / Photo by Paige Winn


I devoured those cupcakes, too! / Photo by Paige Winn

Pretty amazing, isn’t it? What do you think of the dress?


Mrs. Mink

Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012
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  1. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:12 pm

    You look stunning. And that trip sounds like so much fun!

  2. Member
    kikigurl 172 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:14 pm

    It’s gorgeous on you! Don’t you just love Charleston! After reading your post I couldn’t help but smile. My wedding is this coming March at the Wild Dunes Resort you stayed at, and Sugar Bakery is where my cupcakes for my wedding will be from! 🙂

  3. Member
    van870210 18 posts, Newbee @ 6:39 pm

    Nice dress, I like it.

  4. misssparkler Bee
    misssparkler 488 posts, Helper bee @ 6:38 pm

    Ok, I’m WAY late to the game on this one… but WOW! How lucky are you??? That dress is drop dead gorgeous!!! Ahhh!

  5. mink Bee
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:28 pm

    Thank you so much!

  6. Member
    peachplum09 732 posts, Busy bee @ 5:31 pm

    What a fabulous story and happy ending 🙂 Congrats!

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Candy, Guest @ 6:53 pm

    Wow!!! What an amazing experience!! I have chills! I absolutely LOVE the dress! It really looks like it was made for you. And its so great that you didn’t settle for a different dress. That dress has the whimsical details you were looking for. I bet you looked amazing on your wedding day.. just read the blog saying it will be your last post. So you must be married now!! I hope your wedding day was amazing! Hope you post pics of the wedding too! Especially in that dress. Great story, thanks for sharing!!

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